It has been a horrific week in Fredonia that began Wednesday night with a beloved school janitor escaping death. 

Thursday, sightings of the man who pointed an assault rifle at the janitor, dispatched officers from Fredonia and Kanab into the desert terrain near Woodhill Road. The pursuit brought absolute tragedy as Kane County Sheriff Deputy Brian Harris was killed protecting his community. 

The devastating event immediately alerted agencies from Utah, Nevada and Arizona. Support poured into Fredonia from everywhere. The question was – what does a community of 1300 people do to help?

In the face of crisis, the community shined brightly. Immediately, the relief society in Fredonia was notified of need, and 100 sandwiches, salads and more were delivered to feed the hungry officers assisting with the manhunt. The Stake President was called to open the church for media and not only opened the facility, but purchased additional food. 

As the search continued through the night and additional agencies arrived, Hazel and Marvin Hatch stepped in to insure the troops were well fed regardless of the duration of the search.  Beginning at 5 a.m. and leaving between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., they kept breakfast, lunch, dinner and constant snacks ready for the hardworking men and women dedicating their time to capturing the fugitive. 

The outpour of community generosity supporting the search was overwhelming. According to Jim Driscoll of the Coconino County Sheriffs Office, often on these types of operations, officers are left with candy and granola bars to try and get them through.  He was in awe of the nutritious meals and services provided, giving the officers the sustenance needed to do their job.

Fredonia Town Council was on the scene to help. Mayor Scott Heaton and wife Traci helped secure bedding, serve food and help as needed; Council member Brent Mackelprang and wife Christy kept troops supplied with cinnamon rolls; Council woman Jennifer Lukus and husband John along with Councilman Cody Judd and wife Britney assisted in any way needed.

It has been an incredible experience to witness the generosity of a small community. From food to toiletries to campers to time, this community came together to take care of those working so hard to take care of them.

Thank you is not enough to all who generously donated time, money and resources.  An enormous thanks goes out to Cowboy Butte Grille, Sandy Johnson, Western River Expeditions, Glazier’s Market, Three Bears, Honey’s Marketplace, Holiday Inn, Town of Big Water, Kane County, Fredonia Care and Share, Houston’s, Fredonia Fire Department, Jim and Sharon Goodnow, Brent and Christy Mackelprang, Haley and Bennett Brooks, George McCormick, Lisa and Harris Allen, Danny and Jordan Hatch, Harriette Perkins, Carl Cluff, Carl Hughes, the Fredonia Girl Scouts, the Fredonia Senior Center, the Fredonia Public Works and countless volunteers.

We also thank the more than 36 agencies and 400 officers who came to assist our community.  We understand you left your homes and families to risk your life in this pursuit, and we are grateful.

Donations to Brian Harris’ family can be made at State Bank of Southern Utah.